Meet Brynn and Moose

This is one of the absolute most inspirational young women. We could all learn from her.

Brynn’s Bubble

The Spoon Theory

I was talking to someone at church one day about 3 years ago and telling them about all my health issues. That person was the first one to say ‘Have you ever talked to the doctor about Fibromyalgia?’ I started my research that night and like many other people I thought Fibro just meant you had a lot of pain so the doctor lumped you into this category. At one time that may have been true, but not any longer.

Anyway, in my research I stumbled across this blog But You Don’t Look Sick. And on that blog was an article written by Christine Miserandino aka The Spoon Lady (Just search her on google, she’s everywhere). The article was about her struggles with Lupus, she calls it The Spoon Theory and it struck a chord with me. In fact it was me, I just don’t have Lupus. I do however have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. So I feel her pain and her rapid energy depletion and many other things she feels. Anyway…go check it out. Even if you don’t have Fibro, CFS, Lupus, Lyme disease, osteoarthritis, mast cell disease, POTS, etc and so on. I can promise you that you probably know someone with an invisible illness. This article just might help you understand them better.

The Spoon Theory

Finally being heard!

I was just diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome about a year ago. But I have been living with constant pain and fatigue for most than 10 years. When I look back and I mean truly look back the first real indication something was not right that I can remember was in my early 20’s. I am in my mid 40’s now. So if I am being honest, I have been screaming someone help me, someone tell me I am not crazy, someone please tell me I am not alone for more than  years. But someone did finally hear me. I have a champion in my family doctor. He said something gas to be done and if this doctor won’t help you and won’t listen I’ll send you to another and another until one does.

So I am here to tell you that your battle may be as long as mine, longer or God willing shorter, but do not stop fighting and screaming and begging to be heard. If you have pain, fatigue, trouble sleep, trouble staying warm or cool or both, heartburn, GERD, frequent headaches, IBS, crazy periods and PMS and cramps, stiffness (and no it is not just in the morning), depression, mood swings, trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, trouble sleeping period….I could go on and on because the symptoms are endless. My point is make sure you are heard and if the doctor you are seeing will not listen find someone who will.

And no I am not well. Each day is a new struggle, but I am working on it. And for now my Rheumatologist seems to be listening. My family doctor is impatient though and is almost ready to send me to someone else. He wants to see better results or more than just prescribing me something for the pain and something to help me sleep and giving me the horrible advice of ‘If you would lose some weight…’ If I could do more than 2 repetitions of any one exercise without feeling like I was breaking something vital off I would not be having my weight issues. If I could walk more than 10 minutes straight without feeling like I was just run over by a Mack truck I would not be looking at the doctor like he just lost his mind.

Please just don’t give up, keep notes, write down how you feel each day and what you did in case there is a trigger. Keep a log of what you eat, there could be something you find that makes you feel worse. I know I did, if I eat too many starchy foods like potatoes, pasta, corn I have more pain. Always wear layers in the winter and carry a light weight jacket in the summer if you have temperature sensitivities like I have. I even have a space heater in my office that does run during the hottest days of summer. The reason is that my desk sits directly under a air vent (and not there is nowhere to move it, I have a small office and 2 vents), the air vent above me is closed, but the air still comes down on me. In the mornings I freeze and then I hurt, so the heater gets turned on. In the winter it is usually the opposite, I burn up, so I wear layers and the bottom one is usually short sleeved.

I wish I could keep going. I have so much more I want to say. But working on my blog tonight has cost me my last spoon of the day. So I am done for the night.

My final thought or word of advice is do not give up, you are not alone. There are a ton of people who have been in your shoes and will happily give you support. Just search for them on Facebook and google. And if  anyone reads this post who has a loved one with pain and fatigue. Please do not tell them what they should eat, to exercise more or any other well meaning thing. Just offer to be their rock and to help them on days they feel they cannot take 1 more step. And whatever you do never, ever use the phrase ‘we all have pain or we all get tired’. Trust me what they feel is not just tired and it is not just pain.

God Bless!


Howdy Y’all

Welcome to The Oconee Belles Blog.

Why the name Oconee Belles? We we are from a county by the name of Oconee, we are southern belles and it is also a play on the wildflower the Oconee Bell. The same flowers pictured at the top of this blog. The Oconee Bell flower only grows wild in a few states and only in a few counties in those states. It grows in Oconee and Pickens Counties in SC, McDowell, Transylvania and Jackson Counties in NC and Rabun County in GA. If you are even in the area and want to see them in their natural habitat, then I recommend going to the Oconee Bell Nature Trail. In the meantime, enjoy our blog.

Easy Enchilada Bake


This is my own variation of a favorite recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, The Pioneer Woman. We have never been able to make the enchilada’s without making a mess, probably because we just cannot find the quality of corn tortilla’s she gets. So we changed ours into a layered pie like a lasagna. We also changed a few steps and ingredients. We do not fry the tortilla’s since we are not rolling them. We have someone who does not like cilantro and someone who does not like black olives. So we dropped the cilantro completely and substitute the black olives with black beans. This is one of my families favorite meals and it is just as good reheated the next day as it was fresh and bubbling from the oven.




  • 2 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour
  • 1 can (28 oz.) Enchilada Or Red Sauce
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper


  • 1-1/2 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 2 cans (4 oz.) Diced Green Chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon Season Salt


  • 10-14 whole Corn Tortillas
  • 3 cups Grated Colby Jack Cheese
  • 2 cans Black Beans
  • 1 cup Chopped Green Onions


  • Chopped Green Onions
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

The Sauce

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.

The Meat

Image(We didn’t add the green chilies to the meat this time, we made them a part of the layers.)

Brown the meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in green chilis and season salt and set aside.



Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of deep baking dish or lasagna pan. Spread to even out.


Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then place in baking dish.


The layer with 1/3 of the meat mixture, 1/3 of the beans, 1/3 of the green onions and 1/3 of the cheese.


Repeat the same layers starting with the dipped tortilla’s 2 more times. Pour extra red sauce over top.


Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy.


Easy Enchilada Bake
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4203 calories
209 g
880 g
276 g
234 g
134 g
1994 g
2496 g
22 g
6 g
116 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 4203
Calories from Fat 2433
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 276g
Saturated Fat 134g
Trans Fat 6g
Polyunsaturated Fat 15g
Monounsaturated Fat 101g
Cholesterol 880mg
Sodium 2496mg
Total Carbohydrates 209g
Dietary Fiber 39g
Sugars 22g
Protein 234g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1-1/2 lb. Ground Beef
  2. 1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  3. 2 cans (4 oz.) Diced Green Chilies
  4. 1/2 tsp season salt
  5. 10-14 whole Corn Tortillas
  6. 3 cups Grated Colby Jack Cheese
  7. 2 cans Black Beans
  8. 1 cup Chopped Green Onions
Optional Toppings
  1. Chopped Green Onions
  2. Sour Cream
  3. Guacamole
  4. Salsa
  5. Pico Di Gallo
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.
  2. In the meantime brown the meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in green chilies and season salt and set aside. Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of deep baking dish or lasagna pan. Spread to even out. Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then place in baking dish. The layer with 1/3 of the meat mixture, 1/3 of the beans, 1/3 of the green onions and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat the same layers starting with the dipped tortilla's 2 more times. Pour extra red sauce over top. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy.
The Oconee Belles




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1 lb white fish, we use flounder or tilapia
1/3 cup mayonnaise (not the sweet kind)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp fresh Parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Pat each fillet dry and place on covered cookie sheet.

Combine mayonnaise and Dijon in a small bowl and coast each fillet in mixture. Season with salt and pepper (easy on salt because the parm with add some saltiness too).

Combine panko and 1/3 cup Parmesan in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over each coated fillet. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsp of Parmesan over each fillet.

Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Baking time with depend on thickness of fillets. We usually by the prepackaged frozen fillets from Aldi, they are not very thick. If you buy from a fresh seafood counter they may be thicker and require a little more time to cook through and be flaky. Just watch the closely. I usually broil mine (on high) the last few minutes to help them brown and crisp up on top.

Served this time with a side salad. Can also serve with roasted, steamed or grilled veggies, a light cole slaw, a light potatoe salad (I have 2 recipes to share eventually) or a small baked potato (easy on toppings or top with a low fat topping such as chopped onions, chopped fresh mushroom and chicken broth cooked on stovetop until onions and mushrooms are done, you won’t miss the butter I promise).


This is one of our go to meals that is easy and quick to fix.

2 lb bag boneless, skinless chicken breast
Italian dressing (make this yourself so you can control the fat – recipe follows)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Trim chicken of any skin or fat still on it. Tenderize chicken (the above photo is another of my fave things my Deni meat tenderizer – has 36 small blades that pierce the meat) if you do not have a tenderizer like mine use a couple forks and poke the breast all over and very well. 

Pour Italian dressing all over chicken (about 1 cup worth), you do not have to cover the chicken with dressing. Season breasts with salt and pepper to taste. and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning breasts over half way through so other side can soak up dressing. 

When ready to cook remove from fridge and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake chicken for 20-30 minutes until cooked through and juices run clear. 

Served with Sweet Roasted Carrots and purple hull peas.


This is the other dish we made for the International Ministry Thanksgiving dinner. It is one of my mother’s go to dishes to make for almost any occasion. 

1 pkg microwave steamer-type broccoli florets
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup mayonnaise (not the sweet kind it will not be good)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 stick margarine, thinly sliced
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Crackers, your choice, crushed

Cook broccoli according to package directions, allow to cool and drain thoroughly (depending on brand you may need to squeeze excess water out of the broccoli).

 In a large bowl combine eggs and mayonnaise until smooth.

Add soup, onions, margarine and cheese and mix thoroughly.

Cut cooled, drained broccoli in half or fourths depending on how large the floret is. Add cut up broccoli to soup and cheese mixture and stir well.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and  pour broccoli mixture into it. Put mixture into refrigerator for at least 4 hours, overnight is better.

After 4 hours or the following day when ready to cook. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put casserole in oven and bake for about 40 minutes.
In the meantime place an entire sleeve of your favorite cracker (we use Ritz, Townhouse or Cheezit usually) in a zipper storage bag and seal. Using a rolling pin or small pot crush the crackers very well.

After 40 minutes of baking remove casserole from oven and spread crackers over top evenly.
Place back in oven and bake another 20 minutes until cracker are golden and casserole has set.


Tomorrow my church is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for international students from a local college. Many of those students don’t know what Thanksgiving is and have never eaten or seen a turkey. Many of the men and women in the church will spend time tomorrow cooking food for students from all over the world. My mother and I started tonight and will finish tomorrow. I am cooking baked apples and she will be cooking a huge broccoli casserole in the morning.
My baked apples taste like apple pie but without the crust.

 Sorry left the cinnamon out of my picture.

2 sticks butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
1 giant can apples in water (104 oz)

Open apples and pour into colander to drain. In a sauce pan over medium low heat melt margarine and both sugars. Once most of the sugar has dissolved add the cinnamon. Turn heat up to medium and allow to come to a slow boil while stirring constantly. Do not leave the pan while sugars are dissolving you can burn the sugar very easily. When all sugar is dissolved remove from heat and add vanilla and stir well.

Set sugar mixture aside. Sort through apples, they will have some peeling or pieces of core left on some slices. You will want to cut those off.

Pour the sugar mixture over the apples.

 Stir apples to coat well.

Refrigerate apples overnight.

Tomorrow I will put the apples in the crock pot and cook them on low for 4-6 hours.
They are delicious with vanilla ice cream or just by themselves.

I will take a picture of the finished product tomorrow as well as my mothers broccoli casserole. I cannot wait to hear how many international students attended the dinner and how many different country’s we introduced to Thanksgiving and turkey.

NOTE: Yes, this is not a healthy recipe. But I wanted to share it because it is a easy recipe to make when cooking for a large crowd or pot luck meal.